Sometimes, to move forward, we must look back. U.S. involvement in WWI (1917-1919) is vital to understanding and informing our current work in agriculture and food systems. While most are familiar with the Victory Gardens of WWII, few realise that their origins lie in the Liberty Garden programme that enjoyed widespread participation during WWI. This book examines three programmes: the National War Garden Commission, the United States School Garden Army, and the Woman's Land Army (which some women used to press for suffrage). The urgency of wartime mobilisation enabled proponents to promote food production as a vital national security issue. The connection between the nation's food readiness and national security resonated within the context of America's political and cultural life, as the nation struggled to synthesise urban and rural interests, grappled with the nation's plurality and the challenges and opportunities presented by millions of immigrants, and considered the role of America in a global context. Could the same message - that food production is vital to national security - resonate today? These WWI programmes resulted in a national gardening ethos that transformed the American food system for the duration of the war; these historical models may help transform today's food system.
Rose Hayden-Smith is a well-known gardening, food systems, and agriculture advisor, advocate, and educator at the local, state and national levels. She uses historical models of food and agriculture policies to inform contemporary public policy and practise. She lives in Ventura, California.